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    Think Like An Olympian
    The Vault

    Think Like An Olympian

    August 2016

    It’s easy to marvel at an Olympic athlete.  The unique skill of a Simone Biles or Michael Phelps is unmatched, and it’s jaw-dropping to watch such talent.  But when we watch the Olympics, it’s not just talent that inspires us.  The Olympic Games in Rio (or elsewhere) remind us that behind every great achievement are years of unseen glory -- thousands of hours in the gym and years of far less prestigious competition.   We understand that getting to the Olympics requires nothing less than sheer drive and endurance.  That’s the truly inspiring part.

    Succeeding in business is not that different.  Before you thrive, you must endure -- through the ups and downs, the good and bad, the profitable and not-so-profitable times.  One step forward, two steps back.  You just have to keep pushing.  Entrepreneurship is an often failure-riddled road.  Getting back on your feet and trying again, with new resolve and a fresh approach, is the key to success.  

    Are you ready to channel your inner Olympian?  Here are 5 simple steps to get you operating like a world-class competitor:

    1. Find a good coach.

    Every good athlete has one, and so should you.  Seek out coach or mentor in the workplace who will push you when you need it -- with both strategic advice and good old fashioned encouragement.  Welcome honest feedback, even when it hurts your ego.  Be open to improving yourself and your business based on your coach’s feedback.

    1.  Compete against yourself.

    Success in athletics and business often involves measuring success in your own achievement, not against others. You may be at the top of your game, but there is still room for improvement.  Get in the habit of constantly asking yourself where you can find that room.

    1.  Be flexible.

    You never know where your career will take you. A competitor in the market could suddenly become an unlikely partner, as happened with Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross -- former opponents turned dynamic teammates in women’s beach volleyball. Be flexible, and stay open to unlikely collaborations.

    1.  Persevere.

    Late nights, early mornings, and personal sacrifice are a necessary part of every Olympic journey, and they are part of yours as a business owner.  Shift your mindset and view struggles as opportunities for growth.

    1.  Take good care of yourself.

    Focus on overall well-being by incorporating exercise, breaks, and mindfulness into your daily practice.  Take time to rest and recover from work, just as athletes take time to rest from their sports. When you take care of yourself, you thrive (and help others thrive, too).

    Most of us will never stand on the podium in Olympic glory, but we have much to learn from the athletes who do.  As we watch the final competitions this week, I urge you to consider what it took for each athlete to get there, and the daily practices you can incorporate to channel that same spirit.

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